NUS Referendum



Oxford SU is holding a referendum on disaffiliating from the national union of students.

In seventh week, a referendum will be held on disaffiliation from the NUS.

The referendum question is:

Oxford SU is currently affiliated to the National Union of Students (United Kingdom). Should it continue to be affiliated: yes or no?

All students will be able to vote, with the options ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or ‘Abstain’.

The outcome of this referendum will be binding on the SU if the turnout threshold of 4% or more of all Student Members is reached.

Polling will be open between 08:00 on Monday 27th February and 18:00 on Wednesday 1st March. 

Results will be announced at 19:30 on Wednesday 1st March.

All Student Members are expected to obey the  Referendum Rules .In particular, please note it is forbidden to campaign using pre-existing mailing lists or social media ‘groups’ unless the mailing list is maintained by an organisation that has chosen to endorse one of the campaigns.


*Voting is now open until 18:00 on Wednesday 1st March.* Quoracy for this referendum is 4% of Student Members



NUS Referendum Campaign Statements 

Below we have statements with key points from both sides ‘yes’ and ‘no’ related to what remaining affiliated or disaffiliating from NUS UK looks like.


Vote YES to NUS: Stay Connected, Stay Powerful, Stay Affiliated!


We are the Oxford Students for NUS, and we believe that staying affiliated with the National Union of Students is the best choice for our university and our future. The NUS is a powerful voice for students across the UK, representing more than 7 million students from over 400 institutions. By being part of the NUS, we can join forces with other students to campaign for the issues we care about, such as education, mental health, climate justice, and social equality. The NUS connects us with other students, both nationally and internationally, who share our values, our struggles, and our aspirations. By being part of the NUS, we are part of a bigger movement that can make a difference in the world. We are stronger together, and we urge you to vote YES to NUS affiliation in the upcoming referendum.

Being a member of the NUS is not only beneficial for us as individuals, but also for our Oxford SU as an organisation. The NUS provides us with resources, training, support, and opportunities to collaborate with other student unions. It also helps us to amplify our local campaigns and achievements to a national level. For example, our Oxford SU was one of the 155 elected student officers who signed an open letter to the Chancellor in response to the budget, demanding more support for students during the pandemic.

The NUS has a long history of leading the way on social change and fighting for a better education. In the last two years alone, the NUS helped to achieve some big wins for students, such as:

  • Securing £15m into university student hardship to address the cost of living crisis.
  • Putting £800m back into students’ pockets via rent wins and student support funds.
  • Forcing a U-turn on grades for A-Level and BTEC students.
  • Making the government and authorities concede that students not receiving adequate education are eligible for refunds or re-dos.
  • Winning widespread no detriment policies during covid.
  • Ending the use of NDAs in sexual misconduct cases in 54 institutions.
  • Freezing the student loan threshold.

The NUS is not perfect, and it has its challenges and limitations. But it is our union, and we can make it better by staying engaged and involved. If we leave the NUS, we will lose our voice, our power, and our impact. We will miss out on the benefits and opportunities that the NUS offers. We will isolate ourselves from the rest of the student community. We will weaken the student movement as a whole.

That is why I urge you to vote YES to keep our Oxford SU affiliated with the NUS. It is the best way to ensure that we have a strong, united, and unstoppable student movement that can make a difference for ourselves and for the world. Thank you for your attention and your support. Together, we can do this!


Say No to NUS


An Institution in Crisis:

The National Union of Students is not working. There is currently no President due to the incumbent being fired following an independent investigation into antisemitism. This marks the third of the last five presidents of the NUS to be involved in an antisemitism scandal, reflecting endemic problems within the organisation. The NUS has been found guilty of such serious failings that the national government has suspended all negotiations and discussion with it. This means that the NUS cannot act as an advocate for Oxford Students in the national discourse.

Breakdown of Representation:

Representation of student interests within the NUS has been neglected, and none of the Officers of the organisation are from Oxford University. Furthermore, the NUS initiative process, which is supposed to empower students to promote advocacy of pressing issues, has not seen a single proposal from the Oxford SU which has been supported at the National Conference in the last five years. The NUS does not represent us. Outside the NUS, Oxford will be able to advocate directly for students, and push for comprehensive reform to strengthen student representation.

A Heavy Cost to Students:

In the face of repeated scandals, membership of the NUS costs the Oxford SU over £20,000 a year in dues. At a time when financial hardship is a real problem both at Oxford and more broadly, spending tens of thousands from the University and student membership fees on a failing organisation which doesn’t advocate for students is indefensible. By leaving, Oxford can both make a clear stand for the necessity of reform and bring back much needed resources to support student welfare and education at our University. Putting Oxford students front and centre, we can fund our SU campaigns, such as the Liberation and Disabilities Campaigns, more effectively and ensure Oxford students are represented effectively.

Back Oxford For All:

The Oxford SU has benefitted students, represented students, and given a stronger insight into the student-led resistance against the government. We know the Sabbs, we know what policies they enact, and we know their value. Can you name the current NUS President? Or can you only name their scandals and discrimination against parts of the student body? Our SU charities are much more democratically funded than the NUS contributions we send. Let’s have direct accountability for our money.

Join the Growing Movement for Change:

The Student Unions at universities including Reading, Queen Mary and Warwick have already voted to disaffiliate from the NUS in the wake of the independent investigation supporting the President’s removal at the end of last year and the institution's pervasive failings. This referendum presents an opportunity to stand with students across the country in rejecting racism and embracing a positive vision for representative, compassionate and effective student activism.

Let’s seize the opportunity to back our SU, represent all students equally and stand with universities across the UK for positive change. Say No to NUS and believe in Oxford!



Campaign Leaders:

Vote YES to NUS:          Anas Dayeh, St John’s College

Say No to NUS:              Ciaron Tobin, Magdalen College

                                         Caleb van Ryneveld, Christ Church


*Voting is now open until 18:00 on Wednesday 1st March.* Quoracy for this referendum is 4% of Student Members